It was pretty confusing and stressful sorting through all the logistics of bringing Roscoe to England with us. But we had mostly figured it all out and knew it was going to cost a lot (around $1600), but it felt like the right thing to do - to keep Roscoe with his family, even in, especially in, his older years.
But literally the day we had decided on our plan, Roscoe nearly collapsed after running around outside. Several months prior he completely collapsed after sprinting around with a puppy. That time was very scary and we thought he might have gone in to cardiac arrest. Fortunately he recovered and went back to his normal behavior and routine that same evening.
But because of this more recent "syncopal episode" the vet told us she could not recommend flying with him and thought that even though there was a small chance he would be ok, there was a greater chance he wouldn't.
That combined with his age (8.5), and the fact that he's a short muzzle dog, flying Roscoe to England with us no longer felt like the right thing to do for him.
The good news is that after running some test (and ECG, blood work, and ultrasound of his heart), the likely cause of his collapsing is due to heart arrhythmia which is something that can be controlled with medication. Even better, Roscoe's arrhythmia doesn't warrant any medication at this time as it's not severe enough. In the future he may need medication, and he can't sprint around acting like a young pup anymore despite him wanting to, but so long as it doesn't get any worse, Roscoe will likely die with arrhythmia and not from it.
There is a transatlantic cruise that has a kennel for dogs, but it departs from New York and we just don't have the time to figure out how to get him to New York (and I mean that literally - we leave in a week), not to mention the cost is pretty steep (more so than flying) AND he still would be in a kennel for large periods of time and for a much longer duration than a flight which would just put more stress on him than I'm comfortable with.
Thankfully we do have a great plan for Roscoe. My brother and his wife have graciously offered to take him in and give him a loving home. They are expecting a baby in November and I love the idea of Roscoe being around my baby niece. I told him last night it was his new job now - to take care of her.
The complicated aspect of this plan, because of course there has to be some challenge, is that my brother moves to Oklahoma four days after we fly to England. Fortunately my two closest friends are helping to transport Roscoe out to Oklahoma. I met my friend Deb in Atlanta today and she took Roscoe to Mississippi and will watch him for a week until she links up with our other friend Anna who will transport him to her home in Arkansas and watch him for a week and then link up with my brother once he's moved. So today starts Roscoe's own little Manifest Destiny as he begins his journey west.
I know it's the right thing for him, but selfishly I want him with us. He's a member of our family and has been through so much with us and saying goodbye was really, really hard. Literally an hour or so before he collapsed the other week Miles said to me (as I was stressing about how to bring Roscoe) "the thing is, Roscoe has been more of a constant in your life these last seven years than I have." Which was funny, and depressingly true, and sweet. Miles has been deployed five times since we've owned Roscoe, and been away for countless training events and field time. Roscoe was such a comfort to me after losing Cale and the night Miles called to tell me Daren had been killed Roscoe literally would not leave my side. Dogs are so in tune with emotion, I really do think that. And that made saying goodbye even harder as I didn't want him to be concerned with why I'm so sad and crying so much. I was a little worried he would be confused when he got in a different car and I drove off without him, but he really seemed to be ok with everything which made it a little easier.
And I know we can't pass up this opportunity for our family to live in England and for Miles to get to study at Oxford, I could never turn that down for a dog, yet there's this part of me that feels like I'm abandoning him by leaving him behind. I just feel really guilty about it, because like I said he's part of our family so even though bringing him wouldn't be right, not bringing him doesn't feel right either.